Neem as a Natural Insect
Neem has been used since antiquity as an insect
repellent for both people and food crops. One compound (salannin) found
in neem leaves, seeds and seed oil is a safer but more effective insect
repellent than the widely used chemical ingredient called DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide)
currently found in most commercial repellents.
Neem extracts tested by the Malaria Institute
were found to repel the mosquito that causes malaria for up to twelve hours.
Neem provides protection from not only mosquitoes but also from biting
flies, sand fleas and ticks. Because of neem's proven effectiveness insect
repellents made with neem are being used in malaria prone tropical countries.
those seeking a safe alternative to potentially dangerous synthetic repellents
neem offers an attractive alternative for the following reasons:
Neem oil is an excellent skin moisturizer while
DEET is not recommended for repeated application to the skin, around the
face or on the hands of small children.
Neem oil is a natural vegetable oil while DEET
is not recommended to be sprayed on furniture, plastics, watch crystals,
leather and painted surfaces including automobiles. DEET may actually dissolve
all synthetic fabrics but nylon.
Neem oil has been used safely for centuries while
DEET is a synthetic chemical that has only been used for a short time and
may pose future unknown health risks.
Neem is a healing herb that is famous for its
wound healing properties. Cuts, scrapes and poison oak and ivy can be salved
with neem oil lotions. DEET (a synthetic insect repellent) products contain
warnings against getting them in open sores or on damaged skin.